Weakness

Old mare whose eyes

are like cracked marbles

drools blood in her mash

shivers in her jute blanket.

 

My father hates weakness worse than hail;

in the morning

without haste

he will shoot her in the ear, once,

shovel her under in the north pasture.

 

Tonight

leaving the stables

he stands his lantern on an over-turned water pail,

turns,

cursing her for a bad bargain,

and spreads his coat

carefully over her sick shoulders.

 

Alden Nowlan

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